With an approval rating the lowest since 1984 for a presidential nominee, Mitt Romney is certainly not the preferred conservative candidate. The various factions that now exist within the current Republican Party make many wonder if the current GOP will survive, or if it will be replaced by a more libertarian-leaning crowd. The party now seems to be in a life and death struggle between traditional small government conservatives and the war hawkish neo conservatives. With the departure of Ron Paul, the clear, principled voice which provided the standard for small government, individual liberty, noninterventionism and Austrian economics is now gone. Enter, Gary Johnson.
While it is true that Gary Johnson is no Ron Paul, he is certainly a major departure from both major party candidates. In fact, Johnson may have more appeal to liberal voters than Paul and even Obama. The major difference between Johnson and Ron Paul is that Johnson is not inherenly opposed to government intervention. For many Paulians, this is a deal breaker. Johnson favors an amendment allowing gay marriage; whereas, Paul maintained a more neutral stance stating that government simply had no business in the matter. As governor, Johnson pushed a school voucher program in order to give parents greater choice in their child’s education. Paul wanted to eliminate the Department of Education and remove government from it altogether.
Indeed, Johnson’s approach to government appears to be driven more by “common sense” than hard core Libertarian principles. However, in today’s political climate, common sense is a major infusion of fresh air. Johnson’s politics also appear to be evolving as well, as seen in this clip in which he backtracks from a position on government influence regarding regulations of fast food chains. This is common with someone who struggles to “get” the core principles of Libertarianism. Many times, government intervention seems to be the “right” thing to do, but in the long run it will undermine individual freedom and liberty. It was this clear understanding that earned Ron Paul the nickname “Dr. No”.
Many conservative voters embraced the ideas put forth by Ron Paul, but had difficulty swallowing some of the more extreme libertarian elements. The anti war message, elimination of entire governmental departments, elimination of some social welfare programs and a total noninterventionist policy made it difficult for many to jump on the Ron Paul bandwagon. Many had hoped that Dr. Paul would tone it down a notch. Turn down that notch and you get Gary Johnson.
The major question of course is, “Can he win?” Johnson is certainly at a great disadvantage since his media coverage is even less than that of Ron Paul. He is also running on the Libertarian ticket which may cause complications in voting at some polls. It is certainly a long shot. However, Johnson has appeal on both sides of the political spectrum. His fiscal policies are conservative, but he is a social liberal. For some this is a deal breaker. It remains to be seen where the majority lies. One thing is certain, however. Scores of voters are disappointed in the choices for president. Countless citizens are tired of watching America’s future being spent into oblivion, laws and regulations cutting into personal freedom, the media perpetuating lies and distortions in order to feed political and corporate interests. The nation is looking for leadership. In November, that leader may well prove to be Gary Johnson.